By: Jason Green
Date: Friday June 22nd
Time: 4:00 PM
Match Odds: Iceland +165 / Nigeria +190 / Draw +205
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
The least populous nation ever in the World Cup Iceland played to a pretty shocking 1-1 draw in their opening match and they are slight favorites in this one facing Nigeria. In this Group D encounter the Super Eagles really need to bag three points with a win after their opening 2-0 loss to Croatia. However, can they Scoreagainst an Iceland defense that held Lionel Messi and Argentina in check in their first match?
This is Iceland’s debut in the World Cup and this will also be their first ever match facing Nigeria.
Both Nigeria and Iceland are winless in their last five matches, but Iceland grabbed a HUGE point in their opening World Cup match where they were big underdogs against Argentina.
Nigeria really lacked creativity in the opening loss to Croatia besides Victor Moses. The team had no shots on target in the first half and did not have many chances overall. However, they were in the Croats backfield quite a bit and that will be difficult in this match facing a great Iceland defense.
Iceland only had t4he ball 22% of the time in their draw against Argentina. They may have to face an attacking squad again in Nigeria, who direly need three points from this match.
While Nigeria had some holes in their defense and gave Croatia several legit scoring chances the goals they gave up came on an own goal and a penalty. Their defense will, obviously, be key in this match, but they and the midfield really have to look for the counter since they need to score, big time.
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alfred Finnbogason, who scored in the draw against Argetnina, lead Iceland up front. The midfield in for Iceland dropped back most of the time against Argentina and they may do the same in this match. However, they may take to the attack more since they will likely not get dominated in the time of possession and they could use three points as well in group play still having to face a dangerous Croatia squad.
Nigeria does need goals, but overall in their last five matches they have only netted three times. Manager Gernot Rohr is not expected to make any moves in the starting 11, but maybe he should in this must-win match.
Last Three Matches
6/2/18 England 2 Nigeria 1 (Friendly)
6/6/18 Nigeria 0 Czech Republic 1 (Friendly)
6/16/18 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 (World Cup)
6/2/18 Iceland 2 Norway 3 (Friendly)
6/7/18 Iceland 2 Ghana 2 (Friendly)
6/16/18 Argentina 1 Iceland 1 (World Cup)
Prediction: Iceland was impressive in holding Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their opening match and they will be impressive in this one. Their defense will keep the Super Eagles in check and Iceland will win 1-0 improving their chances to advance to the knockout stage.